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About me

After a history degree at Cambridge (1984) I undertook my doctoral thesis on religion and politics in inter-war Britain at Queen Mary University of London, completing in 1989. 

I then spent a year as a research fellow at the Institute of Contemporary British History, writing an award-winning bibliography of post-war Britain. From 1989 until 1999 I was Director of this Institute. I have been a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society since 1996. In 1999-2000 I was on a Fulbright scholarship as visiting professor of British history at Westminster College, Fulton Missouri. 

On my return to the UK I taught history and politics at Queen Mary University of London until my appointment as Reader in History at Westminster in October 2012. I have been Professor of History and Policy at Westminster since November 2016. 

My wide-ranging interests are reflected both in my publications and in the variety of doctoral studies I have supervised. In that research my focus has been upon the history of the relationship between identities, ideas and political culture. This interest is also reflected in other activities. For instance, I edited the journal Contemporary British History from 1991-2003, I also founded the journals National Identities (which I have edited since 1999) and, more recently, Silk Road: A Journal of Eurasian Development with our colleagues at Westminster International University in Tashkent in 2019. 

Inside Westminster my principal responsibility is as Chair of the University of Westminster Press editorical board. Outside Westminster I have a long association with the Hansard Society in the field of public policy, am a member of the London Historic Environments Forum and have been Chair of the George Lansbury Memorial Trust since 2012. 

My current research interests focus upon heritage, memory and (reflecting that I am transgender - pronouns she/her) the queering of public spaces, 

Teaching

I have taught widely over my career in places as far-flung as America and Iraq. At Queen Mary one of my courses, 'Concepts of Europe', covered the sweep from Herodotus to the EU. When in the US I taught Western Civilization. My history teaching in the UK, however, has tended to focus upon Britain and its empire since the eighteenth century. This has included both survey courses and detailed studies on subjects such as the history of the East End, post-war popular culture or the nature of oral history. At masters level courses I have taught range from 'Democracy and Public Policy' for the Hansard Society, through 'Business in Europe' as a visiting lecturer at Cass Business School, to 'Comparative Welfare States' at Queen Mary. 

At Westminster I currently teach 'New Liberals to New Labour: British Politics 1906-2010' and The 'End of History? Crisis and Conflict since the Cold War' at undergraduate level and 'Current Issues in Museums and Galleries' on the MA in Museums, Galleries and Contemporary Culture. 

I have supervised PhD students on various subjects, including political cartoons in nineteenth century Britain, Britain and the US Civil War, British intelligence in the early Cold War, post-war attitudes to finance and the history of natural childbirth. I have six PhD completions and am currently supervising or co-supervising six PhD students - working on the Church of England and English national identity 1780-1838; celebrity culture and rakishness in early nineteenth century Britain; counter-terrorism and the Channel programme, Macmillan and Adenauer (jointly with the Humboldt University, Berlin); prisons and human rights in Brazil; and the Parliamentary Opposition and Brexit. I would welcome PhD students looking at the heritage issues, British constitutional history or the relationship between culture and politics from the 18th century onward.

Research

My current research focuses on heritage, memory and the queering of public spaces..

RECENT PROJECTS

In 2019-20 I am leading (with colleagues from Westminster's Centre for Law, Society and Popular Culture) a series of projects on sports in the archives funded by the British Society for Sports History.

In 2017-18 I led a MUPI project with London Transport Museum looking at the development of the concept of 'Academics in Residence'.

In 2012-15 I was a consultant on Centre for Opposition Studies projects on political reform in Jordan and Kuwait, funded by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

RECENT GRANTS

I have recently received a grant to develop a research project with colleagues from Westminster International University in Tashkent on Mahalla and state-building in Uzbekistan.

Publications

For details of all my research outputs, visit my WestminsterResearch profile.